18 House Democrats Blast Pope for Dropping the “E-word” on Abortion

By Peter J. Smith

  WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2007 ( – A group of 18 House Democrats led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) blasted Pope Benedict XVI yesterday for supporting the idea that Church leaders could excommunicate politicians or deny them communion for supporting legalized abortion.

  The Hill, a bi-weekly Capitol newspaper, reported that the group issued a statement condemning the Pope for his comments saying excommunication would “offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”

“We are concerned with the Pope’s recent statement warning Catholic elected officials that they risk excommunication and would not receive communion for their pro-choice views,” the lawmakers said in a statement issued yesterday. “Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our church has taught us, our own life’s mission.”

  Earlier last week, Pope Benedict XVI made political waves when he told reporters he supported the Mexican bishops in their warning to politicians who supported legalizing abortion that they would face excommunication with the first new abortion.  The Pope said the Mexican bishops decision was not “arbitrary” because canon law “says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ." (

  The Pope said pro-abortion politicians have "doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future".  He continued, "Selfishness and fear are at the root of (pro-abortion) legislation.  We in the Church have a great struggle to defend life…life is a gift, not a threat.”

  Papal spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi later clarified the Pope’s comments did not mean formal excommunication for pro-abortion politicians, but that by advancing abortion laws “Politicians exclude themselves from communion.”

"Since excommunication hasn’t been declared by the Mexican bishops, the pope has no intention himself of declaring it," Lombardi said in a statement approved by the pope, adding however, "Legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist.”

  The pro-abortion Democratic Party has been ruffled by increased attention to the gulf of difference between US pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers and their alleged faith. The Party relies on Catholic voters to support their current Congressional majority, which they captured in 2006 in part through overtures by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touting her “conservative Catholic” credentials despite her virulent opposition to the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life. Pelosi’s concern over securing the Catholic vote was highlighted in her victory tour, when she made visits to her home church of St. Leo the Great in Baltimore and appeared at a politicized Mass at Trinity University.  

  Earlier in February, 55 Catholic House Democrats led by Rep. DeLauro and joined by Speaker Pelosi released a self-proclaimed “Historic “Catholic Statement of Principles”, which gave lip-service to the Catholic Church’s teachings on life, but justified support for legal abortion under the “primacy of conscience.”

  Related coverage by
  Pope Supports Excommunication for Pro-Abortion Politicians - "Incompatible with Receiving Communion"

  55 ‘Catholic’ Democrats Out Themselves as Pro-Abortion - Slammed by Catholic Leaders  

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